Honda Reportedly Closing Down Swindon, UK plant by 2022
That’s where Honda makes the (now global) Civicby Andrei Nedelea, on
Honda established its Swindon, UK plant back in 1985 and it functioned pretty well until the late 2000s credit crunch when the manufacturer closed about half of it. Before the financial crisis that really made its presence felt in 2008, Honda was making the Civic, CR-V, and Jazz in Swindon, but after the restructuring job, it only kept Civic production going at the site - now it looks like it plans on closing the facility for good, in 2021 or 2022.
The Swindon plant still makes the Civic hatchback which unlike the previous Europe-only model manufactured there is now a global model, the almost identical from Japan to the United States. The latest Civic sedan isn’t built there, though - it rolls off the production line at two of Honda’s North American plants: one is Honda of Canada Manufacturing, and the other is Honda Manufacturing of Indiana.
But, even if the U.K. production facility is not operating at full capacity, it still manufactures around 160,000 cars annually (just over 10 percent Britain’s entire automotive production figure of 1.5-million cars), and it employs some 3,500 people.
All of those people will be sent home if this closure report proves accurate. Honda has yet to make an official announcement on the matter, but all information seems to suggest that this will happen very soon.
Most will undeniably blame the move on Brexit, the United Kingdom’s imminent withdrawal from the European Union, but according to BBC, Honda blames it on “global changes in the car industry and the need to launch electric vehicles.”
This devastating blow comes just weeks after Nissan announced it had canceled its plan to assemble the X-Trail crossover in the U.K.
The announcement that the X-Trail would be built in the U.K. was made in 2016, before the UK voted to leave the European Union and ever since, the government has tried to convince the Japanese giant to not change its decision.
Well, now Nissan has officially confirmed that the next X-Trail will be built in Japan, but unlike Honda, it won’t close its U.K. operations, at least not for now. Nissan still builds the Qashqai, the Leaf, and the Juke at its plant in Sunderland, and it will continue to build them there in the near future, but the addition of the X-Trail would have meant a possible expansion of the facility and the hiring of extra workers. None of that is happening now.
At the time, Nissan’s European boss, Gianluca de Ficchy was quoted as saying “While we have taken this decision for business reasons, the continued uncertainty around the UK’s future relationship with the EU is not helping companies like ours to plan for the future.”
So even though Honda will probably not include Brexit as the main reason for its Swindon plant closure once the decision is made public and becomes official, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t the main reason.
Read our full review on the 2019 Honda Civic.
Read our full review on the 2019 Honda CR-V.